THE Queen has agreed that Southend will be granted city status following the murder of MP Sir David Amess, Boris Johnson announced in the Commons this afternoon. 

The news came after MPs observed a minute’s silence in memory of the Conservative MP at the start of business.

Sir David, who represented Southend West, had been a keen campaigner to upgrade the area's status.

The National:

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, opening business in the chamber, said: “The circumstances of Sir David’s death are despicable and raise the most fundamental issues about how members of this House are able to perform their vital democratic responsibilities safely and securely.

“In light of the ongoing police investigation I will not say more about the events, but I give the House my undertaking I will do everything in my power to ensure that these issues are treated with urgency and with the sense of priority that they deserve.”

Later Johnson opened tributes to Sir David Amess, telling the House of Commons: “The passing of 72 hours has done little to numb the shock and sadness we all felt when we heard of the tragic and senseless death of Sir David Amess.

“This House has lost a steadfast servant, we’ve lost a dear friend and colleague, and Julia and her children have lost a loving husband and devoted father.

“Nothing I or anyone else can say can lessen the pain, the grief, the anger they must feel at this darkest of times.”

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MPs cheered as the Prime Minister announced Southend “will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves”.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said a review of policing for politicians is “concluding literally in the next few days” and pledged to update MPs.

Patel was also pressed by Labour to put in place a strategy to reduce the risk posed by lone attackers.

She told the Commons: “Sadly we’ve seen too many lone attackers in previous years.

“There’s a great deal of work taking place.”

Patel said discussions will continue, and she went on to praise the intelligence and security agencies.

More to follow